Space is ginormous! Ever since the idea of commercial spaceflight came into existence, people have been eagerly waiting for it to be a reality. Many spaceflight companies have mushroomed over the years developing the technology to make commercial space flights viable, plausible and safer.
Orion Span, the newest entrant in the league of space hoteliers [there are many] has recently announced its plans to launch a single module luxury space hotel into the Earth’s orbit by 2022. Touted as the Aurora Station, the company has quoted price tag of a staggering $9.5 million USD per person for a 12-day round-trip to space which is a whopping $791,666 per night and it includes a 3-month long training period on the land. Just to put things into perspective, you can buy a fully customized gold-plated Bugatti Veyron at just $10 million USD.
Orion Span, the space hotelier hasn’t discussed the details about the launch provider which will put the hotel into space. There have been instances when private citizens were sent to the space station with a price tag of $20 to $40 million for a round trip. Frank Bunger who is the founder of CEO of Orion Span said that the price tag quoted by the hotel for per person i.e. $9.5 million USD is less expensive thanks to the declining launch prices. He added that prospective space enthusiasts can book their stay at the space hotel for a sum of $80,000 refundable deposit.
A statement given by Bunger reads that the goal of their company is to provide greater value at a lower cost. That is why, once the Aurora Station goes up in the space, it will start operating at the earliest so that space travelers can join it without waiting much. As of now, the space hotel will be located in the Low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 200 miles which is slightly lower than the International Space Station which is orbiting at 254 miles.
Aurora Station is a 43 ½ feet long by 14 feet wide station with a pressurized volume of 5,650 cubic feet. It will have the capacity of handling four passengers along with two crewmembers. The station will orbit the planet once every 90 minutes similar to the ISS in which, travelers will encounter zero gravity. In a 24 hour cycle, they will observe 16 sunrises and sunsets. Orion Span is planning to include research experiments for the guests where they will be able to grow edible plants on the station which they can take it as souvenirs.
The space hotel has been designed in such a way that it can be extended by adding modules to it which will create first-of-its-kind space condo where the space travelers can live in it, visit it and even lease the condo. As aforementioned, you can book the slot to travel to the space hotel in 2021 at a refundable deposit amount of $80,000 which of course you can retrieve it in case you changed your mind or if the ambitious project doesn’t meet its 2022 deadline.
But it is not the first time when companies have come up with such as ambitious projects ever since commercial spaceflight was highlighted more than a decade ago. In 2007, Galactic Suite Project released its proposal on its space hotel for which, it received over 38 bookings by the end of 2008. However, since the project hasn’t been through, it seems highly unlikely that we will be able to join them in their upcoming space hotel. Axiom Space, a Texas-based company has proposed to take visitors to the International Space Station next year and has highlighted its plan to take guests on a commercial flight to their space station by 2024 and still there are more to be discussed yet.
Orion Span has expressed its plans if Aurora Station is successful after which, they will sell condos, include dedicated modules, build a private space station and much more.